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The Columbia-Coulter Translational Research Partnership: 2014-2015 Funded Projects
The Columbia-Coulter Translational Research Partnership has awarded an additional $1 million to support seven more projects and accompanying program administration in its third year, bringing the total number of funded projects to 17. The program is a highly coveted partnership with the prestigious Wallace H. Coulter Foundation. Under the leadership of the Department of Biomedical Engineering, it provides $5 million of funding over five years—two-thirds from the Foundation, one-third from Columbia—to accelerate the development and use of biomedical innovation toward improving clinical practice and patient care.
The most recently funded projects span a broad range of topics and scientific areas, including development of a reparative patch for herniated discs, a software-based analysis process to generate a velocity map of atrial fibrillation, an improved cell production system for cancer immunotherapy, a storage and transportation device for fresh osteochondral allografts, novel methods for allograft bending and engineering allografts for knee repair, and software for analyzing core infarct volume in strokes.
Projects are selected for their commercialization potential, and ultimately their potential to improve human health. “For those faculty who are so inclined, the Coulter Program is an incredible asset to take the step toward translating technology to have an impact on society,” said Professor Andrew Laine, Chair of the Department of Biomedical Engineering and Principal Investigator for the Columbia-Coulter program.
Once selected, teams have access to expertise from leaders in business, medicine, and engineering in the form of the Columbia-Coulter Oversight Committee and other business advisors. “The gem, the gold, or the platinum in the program is the wisdom of the Oversight Committee,” said Laine. “The savvy of the people who serve on the committee is the real resource that the program provides, and this has added value to the entire academic program.”
The seven newly funded projects and their lead investigators are:
AlloSafe: Increasing cell viability of fresh osteochondral allografts during storage and transport Gordana Vunjak-Novakovic PhD, Sidney Eisig MD
AnnuloPatch: Thin but strong material that prevents discs from reherniating Colin Nuckolls PhD (Chemistry), Joshua Schroeder MD (Orthopaedic Surgery, Spine, Hospital for Special Surgery)
Cartibend: Osteochondral allograft bending Gerard Ateshian PhD (Mechanical Engineering), Melvin Rosenwasser MD (Orthopaedic Surgery)
ECHON: Engineered osteochondral allograft for repair of knee cartilage defects Clark Hung PhD (Biomedical Engineering), James Cook DVM Phd (Orthopaedic Surgery, University of Missouri)
Immunomesh: Improving cell production in immunotherapy Lance Kam PhD (Biomedical Engineering), Nicole Lamanna MD (Medicine)
STOP-AF: Rotor Detection Algorithm (RDA) to assess triggers of atrial fibrillation during catheter ablation procedure Elisa Konofagou PhD (Biomedical Engineering), Angelo Biviano MD MPH (Medicine)
StrokeQuant: Novel Software for quantification of core infarct volume in stroke Binsheng Zhao DSc (Radiology), Christopher Filippi MD (Visiting Professor of Clinical Radiology)
Each team includes a faculty member of Columbia's Fu Foundation School of Engineering and Applied Science and a clinical practitioner, either from Columbia University Medical Center or a partner school, whose job responsibilities directly impact patient care.
“The Columbia-Coulter Translational Research Partnership provides mentorship, training, and funding that greatly accelerates Columbia’s technology transfer mission: bringing cutting-edge research out of the lab to benefit human health and society,” said Orin Herskowitz, executive director of Columbia Technology Ventures. The grant supports both research and development of new technologies, and provides resources for their marketing and licensing in conjunction with CTV.
The Columbia-Coulter Translational Research Partnership will help fund projects with the highest chances of achieving a successful outcome, defined by the Foundation as a license of the technology to a commercial partner with the resources and expertise to bring the technology to market. The program, which focuses on the commercialization of medical devices, diagnostics and healthcare IT, has jumpstarted the translation and development of biomedical technologies arising from engineering-clinical collaborations at Columbia.
“The support from Coulter, and the leadership within the University, has been instrumental in moving these exciting projects from concept to reality,” added Herskowitz.
The Columbia-Coulter program is led by the Department of Biomedical Engineering (Andrew Laine, PI and Department Chair, and Andrea Nye, Coulter Program Director), in close collaboration with Columbia Technology Ventures (Orin Herskowitz, Executive Director and Vice President of Intellectual Property and Technology Transfer), and the Departments of Radiology (Chaitan Divgi, M.D., Clinical PI), Surgery, and Orthopedic Surgery at Columbia University College of Physicians and Surgeons.